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Julie Garber

New Arizona Law Allows Beneficiary Designations for Motor Vehicles

By March 7, 2012

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If you live in Arizona or are a nonresident who has a motor vehicle registered there, then you need to be aware of a new law that went into effect back in July 2011. This law allows you to pass your motor vehicles registered in Arizona to your heirs outside of probate by filling out a beneficiary designation form and attaching it to the vehicle titles. The form is called Form 96-0561 and can be found by following this link: Beneficiary Designation For Vehicle Title Transfer Upon Death.

The beneficiary designation form can be revoked at any time by the vehicle owner and a new one can be substituted in its place. It is the vehicle owner's responsibility to let his or her heirs know where the form is located since it does not get filed with the Motor Vehicle Division. The beneficiary designation form has no legal effect until the vehicle owner dies, so it will not affect the rights and liabilities of the owner or the beneficiary during the owner's lifetime, nor will it affect insurance requirements or rates.

Arizona residents can also pass real estate to heirs outside of probate by using a beneficiary deed, but the deed must be recorded in the appropriate Arizona county land records to be valid. Aside from this, Arizona recognizes payable on death bank accounts and transfer on death investment accounts which also avoid probate.

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